Congratulations to the Linking Leeds Consortium!
Linking Leeds is a free city-wide Social Prescribing service for people in Leeds. It is a service run by a consortium of seven local third sector organisations.
Social Prescribing is a way of linking individuals with a range of local community services to improve social, emotional and mental wellbeing.
The Linking Leeds Consortium has been awarded Leeds Mindful Employer Network’s Employer of the Quarter following a nomination from staff member, Danielle:
“[Linking Leeds is] the most supportive place I have ever worked. They’ve been hugely supportive to me during my journey of coming to terms with my disability (Long Covid) as well as providing me constant emotional support, but also going steps further and suggesting reasonable adjustments, putting real structural support in place for me, allowing me to reduce my hours and really encouraging me to care for myself when I’m struggling. We have neurodiversity reflective practice groups where I can also take my ADHD/autism struggles, and they’ve recently started a ‘staff wellbeing group’ which I’m looking forward to being a part of.”
We’ve been chatting to Service Lead, Andrew Walker about how it feels to read Danielle’s nomination and why it’s important to prioritise staff wellbeing at Linking Leeds.
Andy, congratulations to the Linking Leeds Consortium on being awarded our Mindful Employer(s) of the Quarter. How does it feel to read the nomination?
Thanks! It feels really uplifting to read her nomination – it really does show that at Linking Leeds staff welfare is a team effort and it’s nice for my staff to have public recognition for the extra work they do to make Linking Leeds the great place it is.
Why is it important to prioritise staff wellbeing at Linking Leeds?
Staff welfare is paramount to our success as a service. Put simply, if we look after our staff well then they are well placed to do the same for their clients. Social Prescribing can be a challenging profession and our staff need to be supported. It can be emotionally challenging helping our clients so I think we also have a ‘duty of care’ to our staff – we expect them to do a challenging job so we have a moral obligation to ensure that they feel valued, supported and heard.
How do you know your approach is working?
We know our approach is working because Linking Leeds is a great place to work. The staff who work here tell us and the staff who’ve moved on tell us that it really is a supportive and inclusive environment. We know it’s working because we’re able to recruit good candidates in a difficult employment market. We know it’s working because staff morale is high. We know it’s working because we are pulling together as a team.
How do you balance flexible working for staff with meeting the demands of a busy front-line service?
This is a complex one as Linking Leeds is a consortium. Our staff are employed by seven different partners and seven different HR departments. I think the key is to take each case individually, we want to support our staff through challenges and keep them with us. We value their experience and knowledge but still need to be able to meet operational demands.
What are the biggest wellbeing challenges currently facing Linking Leeds staff?
They are the same challenges that our clients are facing as well. Things like cost of living are adding extra stress to all our lives and can really amplify other underlying issues.
How do you plan to support people with these challenges?
It’s no secret that third sector organisations are working in a very difficult financial landscape so we have to offer support in other ways. I’m new in role and am fortunate to have taken over a service from a predecessor who created a really positive environment. It’s not just about me and my management team supporting our staff, it’s about our staff continuing to support and look out for themselves. Our plan is to continue to foster this culture and to continue to be a great place to work.
Thank you to Danielle and Andy for contributing to this blog.
Organisations making up the Linking Leeds consortium are Community Links, Barca, Leeds Mind, Age UK Leeds, Better Leeds Communities, Leeds Irish Health and Homes and Feel Good Factor. Find out more about Linking Leeds here.